Monday, November 16, 2015

Freud

One of our deer hunting party is a student of life.  He entered college late in life, after retiring in his fifties.  He is taking his first psychology class.

Those of us who went to college earlier in life were a bit condescending.  His joy and enthusiasm were energizing but his admiration of Freud was, well, a bit embarrassing.  I don't know of any practicing psychologists who take Freud very seriously.  They think Freud is quaint.  I have to admit that my opinion was biased by the statistic (pseudo-statistic?) that the half-life of knowledge in the field of psychology is about five years.

My opinion changed 180 degrees after thinking about it overnight.

Some of the very hottest research involves the cognitive mechanisms that create the phenomena called "cognitive dissonance".  The thumbnail for this bleeding edge research is that we, humans, have an excruciatingly flawed and abbreviated self-awareness.

Not only is our future multi-branched and indeterminate....so is our past.  We create narrative by cherrypicking anecdotes that make our present-self seem inevitable and totally rational. In fact, our narrative sways like a willow tree in a windstorm as it aligns with an every mutating present-self.

Doesn't that sound like Freud's sub-conscious with a bunch of trendy words packed around it to make it sound new and salable?

A fairly new approach to parenting contends that children need both "mom" and "dad" to develop as complete persons.  The radical approach breaks it down this way:

Self-love and unconditional acceptance is the "feminine" form of love and nurturing.  Freud called this Id.

Self-esteem and earned self worth is the "masculine" form of love.  Freud called this Super Ego

Adulthood is when we can get these horses to pull in tandem.  Freud called this Ego.

So I owe the enthusiastic "new" student an apology.  Freud really did knock it out of the park 120 years ago.

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